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Semiconductor M&A wave: A look at ADI’s four small acquisitions in four years

While trade media has mostly been focused on Analog Devices Inc.’s mega-deals, first Linear Technology and then Maxim Integrated, what’s lesser known is how the analog and mixed-signal chipmaker is assembling designs assets for crucial markets such as wireless, HDMI, and Industry 4.0.

This blog chronicles ADI’s four purchases spanned across four years and shows how the analog design powerhouse is amassing assets to offer more complete solutions for strategically important segments.

Start with the recent one, Comcores, which develops IP cores for ASICs and FPGAs. Comcores has sold its wireless infrastructure assets to ADI. The European IP supplier’s core team based in Denmark and its office in Krakow, Poland will become part of ADI operations as a result of this deal.

Figure 1 Comcores offered wireless infrastructure IP for open, disaggregated radio access network (RAN) architectures. Source: Comcores

Earlier, in summer 2020, ADI snapped HDMI business from INVECAS to offer more complete audio and video solutions from chip design to certification. The Santa Clara, California-based company specialized in embedded software and system-level solutions. INVECAS had its roots in Silicon Image, the semiconductor firm where the HDMI technology was originally created.

Then, in October 2019, ADI announced the acquisition of Test Motors, a Barcelona, Spain-based company that specialized in predictive maintenance of electric motors and generators. The acquisition was aimed at expanding ADI’s portfolio of condition-based monitoring solutions capable of identifying equipment faults before downtime and catastrophic failure occur.

Figure 2 Test Motors technology can detect any failure in rotary electric machines of any type. Source: Analog Devices Inc.

The Test Motors acquisition had followed ADI’s 2018 purchase of OtoSense, a startup that developed AI platforms dedicated to sensing interpretation and enabling the monitoring of any asset, wherever located. OtoSense’s sensing interpretation software could learn and recognize sounds or vibrations and identify potential problems in a factory machine or a car’s engine before they become severe.

A look at ADI’s not-so-big acquisitions shows how ADI is assembling analog and digital bits and pieces strategically while eying critical future markets. It also brings to the fore a swath of semiconductor design and IP firms that are not well known. That’s a testament of how the startup culture in the semiconductor realm is alive and well and is benefitting from the silicon world’s consolidation era.

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